Sheela Bal Bhavan (SBB) was founded in 1992 by Joti and Sheela Bhatnagar.
Joti was born in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of London.
Sheela was born in Rajasthan and obtained a M.Sc. from an Indian university.
After marrying, the Bhatnagars lived in England, where their first child, Rita, was born. Shortly thereafter they relocated to Montreal, Canada where Joti taught at Concordia University for 28 years and Sheela taught for a Montreal school board. The Bhatnagars raised their children, Rita and Anuj, in Montreal before taking early retirement and moving back to India in order to live full-time at SBB. They established SBB using their own savings and with help from Joti’s colleagues from Concordia.
Sheela Bal Bhavan was officially established in 1992. The home is located in a residential area in Jaipur, a northern Indian city near the capital of Delhi.
The home is supported financially by Can Serve Foundation, a Canadian not-for-profit based in Montreal. The home is managed by a Board of Directors in India and staffed by female caretakers, two of whom live on site. Sheela continues to oversee the day-to-day operations of the home along with M.L. Gupta, the managing trustee.
Girls come to Sheela Bal Bhavan via the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the government branch responsible for orphaned and abandoned children in India.
SBB is home to approximately 18-25 children at a given time. Most of the girls attend a local English-language private school. The younger girls receive tutoring at home, whilst the older girls attend a nearby tutoring centre after school. Additionally, some of the girls participate in extra-curricular activities such as dance classes.
All of the girls are encouraged to continue their studies after graduating from high school. Several of the girls have obtained Bachelors degrees from local colleges, and a few have gone on to earn Masters degrees as well. The home provides complete financial support to girls who are pursing tertiary education.
Sheela Bal Bhavan (SBB) operates two homes: the main home in Jaipur and a smaller satellite home in Khurpatal.
Since its inception in 1992, SBB has been home to over 40 girls. Most girls come to the home between the ages of 0-6 and stay until they turn 18.
There are typically 18-25 girls living at the Jaipur home at a given time. There are currently three girls living in Khurpatal.
The home has celebrated seven marriages, producing 10 grandchildren.
Nine of the young women who grew up in the home are currently living independently in cities across India, pursuing their post-secondary studies or focusing on developing their careers.
Three of the women who grew up at SBB have earned Masters degrees in physiotherapy, business, and tourism administration, respectively.